The California Gold Rush

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The California Gold Rush: Stories in American History

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
Part of the "Stories in American History" series, this book chronicles the gold rush, from the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill to the rapid rush of immigrants in 1849 and beyond. Altman begins with an introduction of John Sutter and his role in the gold fever that swept the globe, leading fortune seekers from around the world to the golden hills of California. The narrative continues with the account of those who poured into California, searching for quick fortunes, including a description of the three routes available to California (overland, around Cape Horn or across Panama). Altman explores the cultural and social ramifications of the gold rush, such as the pervading lawlessness and vigilante justice of the settlements, as well as the misunderstandings and prejudices faced with the melding of so many cultures. Altman tells the story of the gold rush through accounts of real people, some famous and some relatively unknown. She pulls from diary accounts and land records, travel logs and guide books, giving the story a wonderful depth and dimension. A timeline and index in the back of the book make it easy to navigate the pages when searching for specific information about the gold rush. Chapter notes and lists of books and websites for further reading make this book a terrific jumping-off point for researching the California gold rush. Perfect for a school library or anyone fascinated by American history. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles
School Library Journal
Gr 4 UpUsing broad strokes, this book paints a vividat times luridpicture of the California Gold Rush. Fast-paced chapters and historical illustrations tell how gold was discovered by accident, how the word spread, and how adventurers arrived from all over the world. The second half of the book examines frontier injustice, racial discrimination, and the lives of women at the time. The writing is colorful but brief; the transition of California from a Mexican territory to a state in the Union is covered in half a sentence and the section on Native Americans is scant. The book does better with African Americans, giving thumbnail sketches of frontiersman James Beckwourth, journalist Mifflin Gibbs, and activist and madam Mary Ellen Pleasant. Social ills of the times are attributed to "violent Americans and their bottomless greed." Liza Ketchum's The Gold Rush (Little, Brown, 1996), based on a segment of Ken Burns's public television series on the West, is more balanced and informative, telling the story through the eyes of individuals from different racial and social groups, including several children who lived through this tumultuous time.Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781464400230
  • Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Series: Stories in American History
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 648,718
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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